|Toby and Sox: The Heartwarming Tale of a Little Boy With Autism and a Dog in a Million by Vikki Turner|
|Reviewer: Louise Jones|
|Summary: A very special dog called Sox arrives to help an autistic boy called Toby and his family, who are desperate for help.|
|Buy? yes||Borrow? yes|
|Pages: 256||Date: August 2016|
|Publisher: Ebury Press|
Sometimes I found myself holding him on my knee, quietly crying above his huddled little body – so quietly he wouldn't be able to tell – just hoping that I could physically hold all the broken pieces together and somehow make everything OK.
Vikki Turner is a busy mum of four, and for her, family is everything. Her first two children gave her no cause for concern, hitting their developmental milestones right on cue and behaving beautifully when in public. When Toby came along, she naturally expected things to be the same, but it soon became apparent that there was something different about him. Toby had a fear of bright lights and insisted on wearing sunglasses wherever he went. Sounds bothered him, so he constantly wore earphones to block out the outside world. Earphones in, sunglasses on and hood up, Toby had created his own 'bubble' in which he could feel safe.
School was fraught with stress and danger. As well as sensory issues, Toby had social and communication difficulties that made school life unbearable and often caused him to have 'meltdowns' which put the teachers and other pupils in danger. He would quickly regret his actions, which led to self-loathing and he would bite his arm hard to punish himself. His behaviour came to a head when, one winter's evening, he tried to open his bedroom window and kill himself. He was only seven years old at the time.
After a long, hard search for answers, Vikki finally got a diagnosis for Toby. He had autism. She battled to be the best advocate that she could for her son, but felt as though she were fighting a losing battle. Toby was excluded from school after a massive meltdown and Mental Health Services had decided to discharge him now that he had a diagnosis. Feeling helpless, Vikki did not know where to turn, until she stumbled across some information about a charity that would change their lives: Dogs for Good. Toby and Sox tells the story about how a very special big black dog came into the Turner household and saved their family.
The story is beautifully told and as a parent of an autistic child myself, I found that there was plenty that I could personally relate to in Toby's story. Vikki perfectly manages to convey the sense of hopelessness and isolation that parents can feel, as well as the difficulties in performing everyday tasks with an autistic child in tow. She highlights the important work done by Dogs for Good and the magical transformation that took place when Sox arrived at their home.
The book is ideal for anyone who loves animals or has a friend or family member affected by autism. I also feel that the book should be obligatory reading for all teachers and classroom assistants, as it conveys in a concise and factual way the many difficulties that autistic children face in the classroom and the best ways to handle them.
Hats off to Vikki for being an absolute 'Supermum' and for sharing her experiences with us. I really appreciated the opportunity to read her story and have been heartily recommending the book to everyone I know.
For a better understanding of autism and how it affects children, Bookbag loved The Reason I Jump: One Boy's Voice from the Silence of Autism by Naoki Higashida and David Mitchell, the story of an autistic boy in his own words.
Toby and Sox: The Heartwarming Tale of a Little Boy With Autism and a Dog in a Million by Vikki Turner is in the Top Ten Autobiographies and Biographies 2016.
You can read more book reviews or buy Toby and Sox: The Heartwarming Tale of a Little Boy With Autism and a Dog in a Million by Vikki Turner at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy Toby and Sox: The Heartwarming Tale of a Little Boy With Autism and a Dog in a Million by Vikki Turner at Amazon.com.
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